How Does a Rotary Tattoo Machine Works?

If you have ever considered getting a tattoo, then chances are you know that there is more than one type of machine available to create the art. For example, there are rotary tattoo machines but what does it do? This blog post will explain how they work and help answer some questions about them.

A rotary tattoo machine is a device that tattoos the skin. It consists of a motor and arm, which can be moved in many directions to create different body types.

Tattoo artists use this machine because it offers more flexibility than other machines like coil tattoo machines and straight-line electric tattoo machines. To understand how a rotary tattoo machine works, let’s take a closer look at how a rotary tattoo machine works.

What is a rotary tattoo machine?

A rotary tattoo machine is a powerful tool used by tattoo artists to permanently ink the skin. The needle on an electric rotary tattoo machine spins and dips to mix colors with the pigments before being tattooed onto someone’s body.

A typical electric rotary tattoo machine will have four separate adjustable speeds, which allow for different degrees of control when applying color pigment into someone’s skin.

They also come equipped with two needles that are capable of dipping down as deep as half an inch below the surface of your skin; this means they can penetrate deeper than other types of machines without any adverse effects or risks associated with infection offered from going too deep. You can easily purchase a rotary tattoo machine from Amazon.

Also Read: Top 10 Best Rotary Tattoo Machines in 2021

How to set up a rotary tattoo machine?

In brief, let’s understand the setup of a rotary tattoo machine. A rotary tattoo machine can be set up in several different ways.

The most common setup is to clip the needle on one side and place it into a holder at an angle that will allow all the needles inside the headpiece to rotate while also dipping down as deep below skin level as desired.

The other option is to attach both needles with clips, so they are parallel. Then clip them onto either end of the rotary armature bar; this allows you much more flexibility than using just one end because your angles are limitless!

You may want to use clamps or rubber bands around the whole piece if metal pieces have been connected to ensure everything stays securely attached without sliding out of position.

Here are a few steps:

  • Attach the needle to the rotary tattoo machine.
  • Connect a clip or rubber band around the whole piece of metal if necessary to ensure everything stays securely attached without sliding out of position.
  • Place your desired angle on one side and place it into a holder at an angle that will allow all needles inside the headpiece to rotate while also dipping down as deep below skin level as desired.
  • You may want to use clamps or rubber bands around the whole piece of metal if you have connected them to ensure they stay secure and don’t slide out of their designated spot.
  • If this happens, then adjust accordingly so everything is where it should be before continuing with tattooing.

If you want more details on the setting up then Also Read: How To Set Up A Rotary Tattoo Machine.

How Does a Rotary Tattoo Machine Work?

Main parts of a rotary tattoo Machine

Here are the main parts:

  • Motor – The motor in a rotary machine is what rotates the tattoo needle apparatus. It can be either AC or DC, depending on your preference and how you want to use it.
  • Needle bar – The needle bar is a long piece of metal that holds the needles.
  • Needles – This is what punctures the skin and transfers ink into it.
  • RCA or DC connection point – This is where the tattoo machine connects to a power source.
  • Grip – The grip is what you hold onto while tattooing with one hand.
  • Cam Wheel – The Cam wheel is what controls how quickly the needle rotates.
  • Tip – The tip is the part of the needle that punctures the skin.
  • Tube – The tube is what transfers ink into the needle.
  • Clamps – These keep everything in place and secure to not move around when you’re using it.

Steps of rotary machine working –

Here are 6 working steps of rotary tattoo machine:

1. Getting tattoo needles out of their holders

2. Putting them on the needle bar in a specific order, depending on what kind of design you are using.

3. Setting the speed with the Cam wheel and making sure it is set firmly.

4. Applying power to the machine so that when you apply pressure onto skin.

5. Holding the grip and pulling back on the needle to make a tattoo

6. The rotary tattoo machine is what artists use for nearly all tattoos. The way they work could be difficult to explain if you don’t know much about how machines run in general, but it’s not too complicated at all!

There are many different types of rotary tattoo machines for sale today; however, they all work by having needles going around inside tubes where ink flows from one end to another.

Which then flow into an opening at the top called a tip which pierces your skin as if someone was poking holes with a metal rod – only much faster.

Voltage setup of Rotary Tattoo Machine

The rotary tattoo machine works with electricity, and it also has a voltage rating. This is the measure of how much power that the machine will use to push the needle through your skin. The amount of volts that you need on your tattoo depends on where you will be putting in ink (if you’re not sure, then ask an artist for their advice.)

The rotary tattoo machine will have a voltage rating, which measures how much power it uses. Most machines have anywhere from 110-120v, which isn’t too high considering they don’t take long when put up against something like a kitchen appliance or hairdryer (which can often have more than 12000 watts!)

Precautions while using a rotary tattoo machine –

It’s important to know your machine’s specifications before you start working on any project with it. This includes knowing what voltage and amperage are needed for your specific needs, so you’re not in danger while using the equipment.

It may be tempting to multitask, but this means stopping often and starting again as well as making sure you do everything properly instead of rushing through it.

1. Voltage

Improper voltage can result in electric shock or even fire.

2. Amperage

Impropers amperage can also lead to misfires, instrument heating, and poor performance from the machine. For example, a rotary tattoo machine typically runs at about 110-120 volts with an amperage of 50-60 amps.

3. Clogged piston

It’s not uncommon for a tattoo machine to get clogged with ink or skin cells. This can happen when the artist is working on larger areas of skin, and all the needles are hitting one spot in that area, which causes buildup.

The rotary tattoo machine should be cleaned every 30 minutes after using it, so if you notice any clogging, then stop what you’re doing right away and clean your equipment.

4. Loose needle bar

A loose needle bar can happen when the artist is aggressively using their tattoo machine and working fast.

If you notice any of your needles are bent at an angle, then that’s usually a sign that something is wrong with your rotary tattoo machine, so it would be wise to take care of this issue as soon as possible before continuing with more work.

5. Faulty springs

A faulty spring is when the springs inside your tattoo machine are either too loose or too tight. Either way, you’ll know if there’s a problem because it will keep getting caught in places and not going through smoothly.

6. Lubricating of tattoo guns

Remember to always lubricate your tattoo guns. Oils, such as Vaseline or baby oil, can work just fine if you don’t have any specifically made for that purpose on hand.

Also Read: Best Tattoo Machines for Beginners


Thank you so much for reading this blog post. We hope it was informative and helped answer some of the questions you had about how rotary tattoo machines work! If, on the other hand, there are still many unanswered questions or if you have any comments to make, please feel free to leave a comment below.

Here are some more articles that you might be interested in:
Top 5 Best Tattoo Kits for Beginners: The Ultimate Guide
The Best Tattoo Machines for Beginners: The Complete Guide
How To Set Up A Rotary Tattoo Machine
How To Use a Tattoo Stencil Machine
Top 8 Best Wireless Tattoo Machines

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